Une tragĂ©die en cours : Le dĂ©clin de la diversitĂ© religieuse au Moyen-Orient

Billet de Blog par Lord Alton of Liverpool

La rĂ©gion du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord (MOAN) connait un dĂ©clin significatif de la diversitĂ© religieuse depuis ces derniĂšres annĂ©es. Si les anciennes communautĂ©s chrĂ©tiennes ont rĂ©guliĂšrement souffert par le passĂ©, aucun groupe religieux n’est cependant Ă©pargnĂ© par la tragĂ©die actuelle ; les ahmadis, les bahaĂŻs, les juifs, les yazidis et les zoroastriens ont tous Ă©tĂ© touchĂ©s, ainsi que les musulmans chiites et sunnites. Pour de multiples raisons, dans plusieurs pays de la rĂ©gion, des communautĂ©s minoritaires ayant des racines profondes remontant Ă  plusieurs gĂ©nĂ©rations sont contraintes de quitter leurs terres ancestrales.

Irak et Syrie: Un cycle de violences sans fin

Depuis 2003, le nombre de chrĂ©tiens et de yazidis en Irak a considĂ©rablement diminuĂ©. Des milliers d’entre eux ont Ă©tĂ© tuĂ©s et des centaines de milliers ont Ă©migrĂ© Ă  cause du terrorisme et de la violence sectaire. Ils ne reviendront jamais.

En 2014, l’État islamique (EI) a conquis Mossoul et les plaines de Ninive. Des milliers d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants non sunnites ont Ă©tĂ© tuĂ©s ou rĂ©duits en esclavage. Une Ă©tude, rĂ©alisĂ©e par la Public Library of Science, estime que 3 100 yazidis ont Ă©tĂ© tuĂ©s en quelques jours aprĂšs l’attaque de 2014. Au cours des annĂ©es suivantes, des dizaines de milliers de chrĂ©tiens irakiens ont Ă©migrĂ© vers les pays voisins ; le nombre des chrĂ©tiens restant en Irak est aujourd’hui estimĂ© Ă  250 000 contre 2,5 millions avant l’invasion de 2003.

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An unfolding tragedy: The decline of religious diversity in the Middle East

By Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has seen a significant decline in religious diversity in recent years. While ancient Christian communities have often suffered, practically no religious group has been safe from this ongoing tragedy, with Ahmadis, Baha’is, Jews, Yazidis and Zoroastrians all affected, as well as both Shia and Sunni Muslims. For a host of reasons, in several countries in the region, minority communities who have deep roots going back several generations are being forced to leave their ancestral lands.

Iraq and Syria: Unending violence

Since 2003, the numbers of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq have both dropped significantly. Thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands have emigrated because of terrorism and sectarian violence. They will never return.

In 2014, the Islamic State (IS) captured Mosul and the Nineveh Plains. Thousands of non-Sunni men, women and children were either killed or enslaved. One study, by the Public Library of Science, estimates that 3,100 Yazidis were killed in a matter of days following the 2014 attack. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians subsequently emigrated to neighbouring countries over the following years, with their number now estimated at 250,000, down from 2.5 million before the 2003 invasion.

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Religious Identity and Conflict in the Middle East

The Arab Spring reignited a debate within the Middle East and in academic circles about the universality of human rights and their compatibility, or incompatibility, with culture and religion. Although the Arab Spring was marked by the rise of Political Islam movements, it also opened the door  to discussions on topics that had long been taboo, such as sectarianism, racism and gender equality in the Arab world.

Religion has dominated politics in the Middle East for centuries, and plays a significant role in the lives of individuals: their rights, opportunities and social status are all impacted by it.

Constitutions, laws, education systems and even art and sport are viewed through the lens of religion, and every effort is made to ensure that these elements of society comply with religious norms and symbolism.

Sectarianism remains a powerful political, social and cultural force, and the source of most conflicts in the Middle East. Many of the current conflicts in the region have deep historical roots – most notably the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the Sunni-Shi’a division.

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Iran: How the Judicial System is used to Target Religious and Ethnic Minorities

Five Iranian Christians were arrested by Iranian Intelligence (VEVAK) Officers on 26 August while picnicking with their wives in a private garden in Firouzkooh, an area 90 miles east of Tehran. They were not holding a religious service. They were simply enjoying a picnic. Now they are detained in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Since President Rouhani came to office in August 2013 there has been an increase in the number of religious minorities imprisoned on account of their faith. The rise in harassment, arrests and restrictions on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) are a major concern for non-Muslims, converts to Christianity, members of the Baha’i faith and minority Muslim groups.

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